Keynote lecture to highlight ethics and medicine at Purdue Cancer Culture and Community Colloquium

September 16, 2015  

Dr. Barron H. Lerner

Dr. Barron H. Lerner 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Award-winning author Dr. Barron H. Lerner will headline the Cancer Culture and Community Colloquium with his lecture titled "Two Doctors, Two Generations: Medical Ethics Then and Now" on Nov. 12 at Purdue University.

Lerner, a practicing physician and professor of medicine and population health at New York University of Medicine, will give his free talk at 7:30 p.m. at Fowler Hall. The theme of this year's Cancer Culture and Community Colloquium is Empathy & Ethics.

Lerner's latest book, "The Good Doctor: A Father, a Son, and the Evolution of Medical Ethics," was published in 2014 and will be the center of his presentation. The book tells the story of two doctors, a father and a son, who practice medicine at different times and focuses on the differences in practices and ethics.

" 'The Good Doctor' chronicles Lerner and his father's careers in health care, while scientifically addressing the evolution of ethics, paternalism and patient relationships," said Marietta Harrison, director of the Oncological Sciences Center, the Discovery Park research center that leads CCC. "Dr. Lerner's book helps Purdue raise questions on ethical norms and whether or not the older generations' ideas have lost relevance or need to be embraced again."

The annual event, organized by the Oncological Sciences Center in partnership with the College of Liberal Arts, also will feature several campus and community-wide events leading up to Lerner's lecture.

Lerner's previous book, "The Breast Cancer Wars: Hope, Fear and the Pursuit of a Cure in Twentieth-Century America," received the William H. Welch Medal of the American Association for the History of Medicine. It was named one of the 26 most notable books of 2001 by the American Association for the History of Medicine and the American Library Association.

Lerner received his M.D. in 1986 from Columbia University and his doctorate in history in 1996 from University of Washington. He has published an extensive amount of scholarly journals and contributes essays to the Science Times section of The New York Times, the Times'  "Well" blog, Slate, and the Huffington Post. He also has appeared on numerous NPR broadcasts, including "Fresh Air," "All Things Considered" and "Science Friday."

Lead sponsors this year are the College of Liberal Arts, Office of Public Affairs, Purdue Center for Cancer Research, Office of the Provost, Discovery Lecture Series, Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Purdue Libraries and the West Lafayette Public Library.

The annual Cancer Culture and Community initiative was launched by the Oncological Sciences Center and the College of Liberal Arts in 2007 to explore how the arts and literature provide an outlet of expression to people struggling with cancer.

Since then, organizers have hosted an annual colloquium featuring films, gallery exhibitions, poetry readings and lectures by nationally renowned authors, poets, filmmakers and other creative professionals. The Greater Lafayette community also has been invited to share cancer experiences through poetry, essays and art. The program also sponsored a bone marrow registry drive.

The Oncological Sciences Center, created through a Lilly Endowment gift in 2005, is the Discovery Park arm of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. It builds on existing research areas and is expanding Purdue's thrust into nanotechnology, drug delivery, and cancer care and prevention. 

Media Contact: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Marietta Harrison, 765-494-1442,

Kris Swank, Oncological Sciences Center operations manager, 765-494-4674, 

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